Interview with Tammy Spahn

What is your writing process?
My writing usually alternates between two phases: For the main plot, I like to keep only a premise, an ending and a few key points in my head and let the rest of the story grow organically and connect everything. This doesn't always happen as planned, as my characters like to develop a life of their own and do something unexpected, and I end up in a situation I hadn't foreseen!

The other part, which takes up the most time, is the more straight-forward one: the "crafting" phase, in which I go back to chapters and chisel away at them to smoothen the narrative, add details and generally make sure that everything feels right. Once everything is "done", I like to distance myself from it for a while and then read the entire thing again from start to finish to brush over irregularities.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Sadly, I do! I was very young when I wrote it; it was in English despite my not being a native speaker, but it was written like bad fanfiction (my main exposure to English-language literature at the time!) and the plot was cartoony and almost non-sequitur. It has since evolved into the webcomic I run (Tails of Lanschilandia) while my other writing endeavours have moved on to semi-serious Fantasy; I've come a long way since then!

My first serious attempt at Fantasy writing after that was the result of a small 2000-word story writing competition hosted by someone I used to know; a possibly humorous tale about a troll and a goblin magician in a prototype of the "Pelsatia" universe I tend to write about these days. It still wasn't the best, but it set the mood for much of what was to follow, and I don't regret writing it; it was the best "warm-up" to my career I could have asked for!
How do you approach cover design?
As a rule, I create all cover art myself (I use Photoshop for my art); this allows me to retain full control and realise earlier on if the cover is not turning out to be what I had in mind. In general, I attempt to pick a motive that relates to the book and is recognisable enough without giving away too much of the story.

The style does not matter much as long as it isn't generic; there are many book covers out there which use modified photographs or - especially for Fantasy books - a run-of-the-mill realistic painting style. While these can look good, they don't do much to make the book stand out, and creating something more or less unique and identifiable is more important to me than pure aesthetic value. A book cover is not something to hang on the wall for decoration, after all; it's something intended to wake a potential reader's interest, and I do my best to truly make the cover a part of the book in all its uniqueness and not just a seperate artwork that has been tacked on as an afterthought.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I usually have a lot of projects running which aren't necessarily related to writing. Digital art, music, an online comic, some attempts at game development... the list goes on. I enjoy being creative and accomplishing something lasting, and the Internet makes it easy to share things with others as well! Of course, I also enjoy other people's artistic expressions, be it art, literature, music or anything else.

Apart from these things, I'm a big fan of languages and intend to achieve at least limited proficiency in as many as I can. I enjoy studying their internal workings, exploring them and appreciating all the interesting details that make them unique in their structure and sound.
What do you read for pleasure?
I mainly like to read the same kinds of things I write, though I don't have nearly as much time and money to invest into actually reading books as I would like. I'm a big fan of Fantasy, especially young adult or children's, which often have a tendency to be more creative. I love to explore new settings, especially when they're imaginative and not too dark or depressing; there's enough cynicism in the real world, and I enjoy being able to lose myself in a book and leave life's worries behind for a while. I also like humour in books, but not so much that it becomes silly or that the immersion suffers.
Published 2013-09-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Gophirith von den Bergen
Price: $3.97 USD. Words: 49,800. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Die Welt von Pelsatia is voller Wunder und Schönheit, besonders für die jungen Goblins Pon und Tara. Als Pon die Chance erhält, einer Entdeckergilde beizutreten, zögert er nicht lange. Doch ziegenköpfige Ungeheuer lassen ihn seine Entscheidung schon bald bereuen. Was sind das für Wesen, warum tauchen sie aus dem Nichts auf und wer ist dieser Gophirith von den Bergen, von dem sie sprechen?
Gophirith of the Mountains
Series: Pelsatia. Price: $3.97 USD. Words: 50,820. Language: British English. Published: December 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » General
The world of Pelsatia is full of wonders and beauty, especially for the goblins Pon and Tara. When Pon is invited to join a guild of explorers, he does not hesitate to agree. But when goat-headed monsters put him and his friend into grave danger, he begins to have second thoughts. What are these creatures, and who is this Gophirith of the Mountains they speak of? Illustrations by the author.
Ssalia and the Dragons of Avienot
Series: Pelsatia. Price: $2.95 USD. Words: 70,860. Language: British English. Published: February 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00)
Ssalia the snake girl does not intend to go on strange adventures; they just seem to be calling out to her. When she learns of the dragon city Avienot through an unexpected encounter with one of the flying lizards, she cannot resist looking for it, uncovering some of the wonders of her planet and getting involved in more situations than she expected along the way...